It is understandable that a California parent wants to avoid going to court when trying to resolve child-related issues in divorce. Many times, divorce mediation can be used to help co-parents achieve amicable and fair agreements regarding child custody, visitation or other matters. Mediation is definitely not for everyone, so it pays to speak to someone well-versed on such issues to help determine if it is a viable option in a given set of circumstances.
Establishing a co-parenting agreement out of court requires a willingness to cooperate and compromise as parenting partners. Getting the court's approval to proposed terms means the agreement in question would be legally binding and enforceable. A mediated agreement may address many issues beyond the physical residence of children, such as eating habits, religious practices, bed times and more.
If parents disagree about certain issues -- for instance, whether children should attend public school, private school or educated in a home-based program -- an experienced mediator can facilitate negotiations to try to resolve the issue. Before entering mediation, both parties must agree to discuss all issues in as non-confrontational a manner as possible. Some situations are more complex than others, such as if one party is a biological parent of the children but the other is not.
Sometimes, parents determine that divorce mediation is not working and decide to convert their case to litigation. The judge overseeing the case will then make all unresolved decisions relevant to child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, property division and other material issues. Any California parent with questions about the mediation or litigation process may seek answers by requesting a consultation with a family law attorney at any time.